Anyone who works with their physical health often has measurable goals, such as lowering their cholesterol, running faster or gaining more weight. You may see that your hard work is clearly reflected, but if you work on your mental health, it may seem that there is no clear way to measure how strong you are by carrying that mental weight. You exercise, you go to therapy, you meditate, but how do you know how well it works?
Improving your mental health is the way to understand
While it may seem difficult to tell if your mental health is improving, there are some ways to measure improvement. Here are some ways to determine your progress:
1- You have reached your goal
When you start therapy, ask a therapist why you are seeking treatment. Most people turn to therapy when they have a problem in their life, but you don’t have to go through any crises to get therapy. At the beginning of the process, he asked, “If I could just swing a magic wand right now and it would solve these three things, what would they be?” Finding the answer to the question may be a good idea. If you find it difficult to express what these three things are, you may feel that your frustration or anxiety is preventing you from doing something in your life. Hey, DepressionIt may be that it prevents you from being social. Identifying this problem can help you set a socialization goal, for example, once a week. If you start socializing once a week, it is a sign of progress because it is a step towards overcoming that obstacle. Also, reaching a goal literally changes the structure of your brain, makes it more effective, and helps you move on to other goals.
2- You notice a decrease in symptoms
Relieving symptoms can be decisive in looking at the effects of the study. For example, if you start treatment for panic attacks, probably three panic attacks per week and now have only one, it is a clear sign that you are recovering, but do not despair if you do not have a zero panic attack. The goal is progress, not perfection.
Here are some things you may notice as your mental health improves:
Sleep well: One of the first questions any mental health professional asks you is how your sleep schedule works. There is a link between sleep and mental health, because insufficient sleep can cause mental health problems. Conversely, mental health problems can also cause poor sleep. For some people, this may mean too much sleep. Others may have insomnia or sleep problems. Improving your sleep patterns is a good measure of progress.
Emotional blast reduction: If you hit your kids or the grocery store cashier who gave you the wrong coin and you find that your anger is rare now, that’s another sign of progress.
Stabilize the appetite: People with depression may lose their appetite or their appetite may increase. If you find that your appetite is fairly stable, it may be due to an improvement in your mental health.
2- You have better boundaries
How you manage boundaries is a great way to measure your growth. For example, your friend may expect you to leave everything and be with him when he calls. In the past, you could do this because you were afraid of losing your relationship with a dear friend. Instead, you can set a new limit and send the message, “I want to see you, but you must give advance notice.” This may seem a bit overwhelming at first but setting the right boundaries gives you a “feeling of empowerment”.
3- You are more confident in yourself
If you are someone who relies heavily on the opinions of others to make decisions, a new ability to believe in your own decisions can be a great success in your mental health journey.
4- Increases your mental intelligence
While we may not measure mental intelligence in exactly the same way that we measure cognitive IQ, there are certainly ways to monitor mental intelligence improvement. Some of the signs are that you can’t control your emotions as much as you once did. A higher level of mental intelligence provides the ability to express oneself strongly rather than being aggressive or passive-aggressive. It can also be easy to take responsibility for your own activities.
What if my condition is chronic?
If you have a chronic mental health condition, you may feel frustrated that you have to live with this diagnosis forever, but you can take more obvious symptoms to measure your progress:
Episode reduction: If you have a major depressive disorder and usually have two or three episodes a year, progress may seem like you only have one episode each year, or it may seem like a one-episode shortening.
Increase healthy behavior: If you are dealing with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, episodes can always be a part of your reality. However, even coming to regular therapy shows progress if you haven’t been before. Your desire to take your medicine every day is another positive sign.
Although these are just some of the ways in which you can see progress in your mental health care, this is just one example. Just because you can’t improve in one of these areas does not mean that your mental health is not improving or that your hard work is not worth it.
Many times, others may notice changes in our mental health and functioning before we see it in ourselves. A good therapist can help you set goals and learn how to see some of these changes on your own.
Reference: Theodora Blancfield. “How do I know if my mental health is improving?” Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-do-i-know-if-my-mental-health-is-improving-5199596 (09.02.2022).